• The Difference Between Fox Restraint & Release and Trapping & Relocation 14 April 2018 | View comments

  • There seems to be a lot of confusion between "Releasing" and "Relocating" urban foxes.


    Unlike the grey squirrel, the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is a British Native and does not necessarily have to be killed.

    If a fox is restrained in a building and guided out of the premises and freed outside - no wildlife crime has been committed.

    An offence may be committed if said fox is put into the back of a vehicle and relocated elsewhere in the country.

    Firstly, "Urban Fox Management" or "Fox Control" does not necessarily mean "to kill".

    Management - "The Process of Dealing with or Controlling things"

    Control - "The power to influence or direct a course of events"

    Any professional working in Urban Fox Management will know that anything is possible and that urban foxes are very opportunistic, unpredictable and can sometimes get themselves into unforeseen predicaments they cannot get themselves out of without human intervention.

    This is where experience, knowledge, having the correct equipment ready, care, compassion and tolerance comes in.

    Urban foxes that live in UK Towns and Cities are NOT a protected species; however, they are given limited protection under The Animal Welfare Act 2006 which has more or less replaced existing legislation as to how animals are treated under the direct control of man.

    The Animal Welfare Act 2006 would be contravened if a fox was deliberately trapped in a London back garden and relocated to the middle of Essex for example and released.

    Not only would the 'dumped' fox be subjected to unnecessary suffering having had to endure a lengthy journey, but it would have to then find a food source and harbourage in an unknown area and possibly face being killed by a territorial fox.

    The deliberate trapping and "relocation" of foxes in not appropriate in terms of disease management or animal welfare and puts other wildlife and farm livestock at risk.

    If a urban fox displaying sarcoptic mange is "relocated" and "released" it will pass the disease onto other foxes or dogs it may come in contact with.

    Emergency Fox Removal

    If for instance, an individual fox that has never cause an issue before manages to get into a high walled back garden, underground car park, cupboard, room, void, basement of a property and can't get out, it would not contravene The Animal Welfare Act 2006 to open a side gate/door and usher it out.

    If necessary, the subject fox could be calmly restrained using a dog handlers pole and directed out of the property it has found itself in and released unharmed.

    The subject fox has NOT been relocated - just carefully shown the way out (as below):


    If the same fox returns (which is unlikely) and starts to become over familiar, a nuisance, causing damage, contamination and a health & safety issue; the client would be appropriately advised as necessary.

    As a professional Urban Fox Management Company, we don't have to kill every urban fox we come into contact with.

    We pride ourselves on our professional attitude, ethical and responsible working manner.

    However, if the subject fox showed signs of injury, suffering or disease it would be our responsibility and duty to consider putting the fox to sleep to end any suffering or pain and to prevent the spread of disease to other healthy foxes or animals.

    We do reserve the right to release a fox (if appropriate to do so) in the direct immediate area where it has been found if the subject fox cannot leave on it's own accord and the client wishes us to do so.

    Targeted Fox Trapping Cycles

    If a planned fox trapping cycle is being carried out to remove specific foxes (having exhausted all other non-lethal control methods such as proofing, exclusion, waste management and habitat management) that have become over familiar with a particular site such as a school, construction site, back garden, warehouse for instance due to causing a health & safety hazard or other concerns; the client would have to understand from the start that relocating trapped foxes would NOT be an option and that any foxes trapped would be humanely dispatched (on-site) and NOT relocated or released elsewhere.

    Many people feel that it is more humane to "relocate" a nuisance fox than put it to sleep but this could not be further from the truth.

    It would in fact be inhumane for the fox in question. It is a misconception that a relocated fox will live happily ever after.

    Not only will it have to fight for survival, it will more than likely be seriously injured or killed in the process by more dominant foxes.

    The relocation of a fox from one area to another could cause further suffering to other foxes in the 'dump zone' if the relocated fox is diseased.

    As a professional Urban Fox Management Company, we do NOT relocate urban foxes.

    We always consult with our clients and provide all legal options available.

    « Back to archive